Skinned and Beheaded Alligators Found Dumped in Florida: 'The Nastiest Thing I've Seen Down Here'

The bodies of three skinned and beheaded alligators have been pulled from a Florida dock.

At around 6 a.m. on Monday morning, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission received a call about the reptiles' remains at Arlington Road Boat Ramp, a spokesperson for the body told Newsweek. Vessels are docked and taken in and out of the water at the ramp on St. John's River, east Jacksonville.

A Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission officer launched an investigation, Karen Parker, public information officer for Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, told Newsweek.

Officials removed the bodies from the area, ABC affiliate First Coast News reported.

Chris Nichols, who has lived near the ramp in the city in northeastern Florida for 30 years, told First Coast News he found the dead animals when he went down to the water on Monday morning to look at the tide.

He and another person near the water noticed "three bundles of things that looked to be installation." On closer inspection, they realised the bundles were three alligator carcasses.

A member of the public had alerted the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission by the time Nichols found the remains.

"I've lived here near the ramp for 30 years and that's probably the nastiest thing I've seen down here. It's a lot nastier than fish carcasses," Nichols said. The dumped animals were blocking a community ramp "which everybody uses."

It is illegal to hunt alligators in Florida without a permit. In 1988, the state set up harvest quotas for permit holders to harvest up to two of the reptiles each year. The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission describes the approach as "a model program for the sustainable use of a natural resource."

Each year, over 10,000 individuals will apply for around 6,000 of the licenses. Between August 15 and November 1, from 5pm to 10am, licensees can catch the animals in designated areas on set dates.

Marc Hardesty, who has worked as a nuisance alligator trapper in Duval County, told First Coast News the alligators at the ramp appeared to have been treated with negligence.

He argued: "It basically illustrates that there are folks who just don't want to do it properly and that's why the laws are designed the ways that they are."

Speaking to Newsweek, Parker urged members of the public with information about the incident to come forward.

Anyone who can shed light on why the animals were found in such a state can anonymously contact the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission hotline on 888-404-3922. A reward of up to $1,000 is available if the information leads to a suspect.

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conversation Commission is also looking for information in separate case where a decapitated alligator was found on a roadside.

The reptile's head appeared to have been cut off with a chainsaw. Its body was found on Lorraine Road in Saratoga County, southwest Florida, on Monday.

This article has been updated with comment from Karen Parker.

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An alligator, unrelated to the incident, is seen at the Gator Park in the Florida Everglades May 17, 2006 in Miami-Dade County. Joe Raedle/Getty